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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

R. v. Powell [1839] NSWSupC 82

murder - convict escape - bushranging - Wellington Valley

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Willis J., 2 November 1839

Source: Sydney Herald, 4 November 1839[1] 

Llewellyn Powell was indicted for the wilful murder of Abraham Meares, by shooting him at Cullengoingoing, in the district of Wellington Valley, on the 6th August, and James Lynch and Charles Clipp were charged with being present, aiding, assisting, and abetting.  A second count charged Lynch as principal, and the others as accessaries.

The prisoners were all runaway convicts, and on the day laid in the indictment they rode up to Mr. Hall's station on the Big River, and seeing a woman belonging to the station outside, they asked her if there were any men inside; she said, no; to which they replied, that if there was, they had better come out, or they would blow them and the house down too; they got down, and fired at the hut, when Abraham Meares, the dairyman of the station, who was inside, fired out at them; the prisoners told the woman to go in and tell the man to come out, and nobody would hurt him; Meares came out, holding up his hands to show that he had no arms.  Powell told him to go down on his knees and say his prayers, which he did; and in a minute or two Powell said Meares had attempted to take his life, and he would have his, and took a pistol out of his pocket, and shot him in the face; Meares dropped down, and immediately jumped up and begged for mercy; Powell called out for some one to bring a piece loaded with a ball to put him out of his misery at the same time firing at him with a musket.  Lynch them [sic] came up and levelled his musket and fired at Meares, who died instantaneously.  They then went into the hut and took some tobacco and sugar, which, with Mr. Hall's horse they took away with them.  A party was made up who went in pursuit of, and apprehended them a few days afterwards.

At the request of the Judge Mr. a'Becket undertook the defence of the prisoners.

The jury retired about three minutes and returned a verdict of guilty. -- Death.



[1]  See also Australian, 5 November 1839; Sydney Gazette, 7 November 1839.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University